Kevin Powers biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Kevin Powers

Kevin Powers

Kevin Powers Biography

Kevin Powers was born and raised in Richmond, VA. He joined the army at 17 years old; six years later, in 2004. was deployed to Iraq and served in Mosul and Tal Afar at a time of fierce fighting. After his honorable discharge he returned home to study English at Virginia Commonwealth University, and received an M.F.A. in Poetry from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin in 2012.

Kevin Powers's website

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Interview

Shortlisted for the 2012 National Book Award, The Yellow Birds has been compared to classics in the war genre like All Quiet on the Western Front and Catch-22. Author Kevin Powers tells us if this comparison is justified and describes the role of fiction in driving home the injustices of war.

How did you come to join the army at the age of seventeen?
I wasn't a particularly good student in high school, but I knew that I wanted to go to college. And given the fact that there is a long tradition of military service in my family, enlisting always seemed like a viable option. It was neither encouraged nor discouraged, but I had by then inferred that the military was where a person went to develop the qualities I had come to admire in my father, my uncle, and both of my grandfathers. The cliché, in my case, was true: I thought that the army would "make me a man."

First World War poet Wilfred Owen wrote in the preface to his poems: "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity. Does this apply to The Yellow Birds?
I can only say that the impulse to write The Yellow Birds came from a desire to look for some truth that I hoped could be found at the core of that most extreme of human experiences. I also thought that by placing the emphasis on the language, using it to demonstrate Bartle's perpetual, unbearable sense of awe and wonder, I'd have at least a chance of connecting to another human being on an emotional level. I wanted to engage with the imagination above all else, because...

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Books by this Author

Books by Kevin Powers at BookBrowse
The Yellow Birds jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Kevin Powers but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • David Abrams

    David Abrams

    David Abrams was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Jackson, Wyoming. He earned a BA in English from the University of Oregon and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Abrams served in the U... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Yellow Birds

    Try:
    Fobbit
    by David Abrams

  • Naomi Benaron

    Naomi Benaron

    Naomi Benaron is a fiction writer, a poet, and a social activist - all entwined. She has worked extensively with the African refugee population in her community, teaches online through the Afghan Women's Writing Project, has ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Yellow Birds

    Try:
    Running the Rift
    by Naomi Benaron

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